THERMOPOLIS, Wyo. — It may have caught your eye. The whimsically decorated box made from an old icebox chest colored in a bright turquoise and filled with no, not garden tools or mail but books. The books are free for the taking and reading.
Located in front of a home in Thermopolis, Shelley Deromedi's family built a Little Free Library for her and her husband in memory of their daughter Jennifer to share her love of learning and reading.
"The library has been well received and has been a great addition to our neighborhood. There are new books in it almost every day," said Deromedi.
Deromedi said her library is one of three in the state.
"There is one in Cody and another in Laramie," she said of the world-wide craze.
The Little Free Library is like a book exchange and the concept is world-wide.
Deromedi said her library has been up since October and she just recently decorated it for the holidays placing a blown-up Snoopy next to it to attract children. Hanging under the Christmas wreath is a porcelain ornament of the Peanuts gang all gathered around Schroeder's toy Steinway as they sing "Joy to the World."
The Little Libraries certainly do bring joy and Deromedi plans to leave hers up throughout the year.
"I have a neighbor who is an avid reader," said Deromedi. "She must read a book a day and she often brings books by to share."
Peeking inside "the top floor" shows books of every genre for both children and adults.
The web site littlefreelibrary.org gives credit to pioneer Lutie Stearns who between 1895 and 1914 traveled tens of thousands of miles in a horse-drawn wagon filled with Little Libraries, similar to those shown on the website and the one standing in the Deromedi yard.
Check your local library or school library to read about Stearns. The book is titled "Books in a Box: Lutie Stearns and the Traveling Libraries of Wisconsin."
You may be thinking to yourself that you can just go to your local library and check out the books or in this age of electronic gadgetry read a story on your digital book.
This is true. But there are some tiny rural towns who don't have a library and countries outside the U.S. that aren't connected to the Internet.
The Little Free Library's mission is to promote literacy and the love of reading. Sharing skills, creativity and wisdom across generations is also an important aspect of the mission.
Talk about creativity, the web site shows numerous photos of libraries built by different people from around the world. Some look like birdhouses. There's even one that looks like a child's playhouse. Information on how to build the library is available on the website.
So far the Deromedi library hasn't been vandalized.
Deromedi just shrugs her shoulders and says, "So what? The books are free for the taking even if they do steal one. Hopefully though the thief will just read the book and return it."
Deromedi's library has a permanent home.
Information from: Northern Wyoming Daily News, http://www.wyodaily.com